I was disappointed to hear about some very bad behavior going on among manufacturers during the January Dallas Market. Specifically, I heard complaints that several companies – I wish there were only one culprit – sent a few members of their staff stampeding into competitors’ showrooms to photograph (and in one case, videotape) the new products that their competition had on display. Now, never mind the fact that there is already enough redundancy in designs at any given show (birdcages, anyone?) for a variety of reasons: overseas factories aren’t always good at keeping secrets; a trend is a trend and therefore it behooves a manufacturer to offer a style that addresses a popular look; and sometimes it’s just a case of great minds thinking alike.
Our industry has had a rough go of it during the Recession and granted, desperate times may call for desperate measures – but, in my opinion, this crosses the line.
The manufacturers whose showrooms were invaded by the competition were in a tough spot. In one of the instances, the principal was in a conversation with a customer and
to create a scene by ordering the offending competitor to stop taking photographs and leave was not an option. Then there is the gall of one company sending more than one person in to take photographs after the first two were asked to leave.
This is not the way that business professionals should conduct themselves and it’s especially disappointing in a small industry where banding together – especially in tough times – has been a positive attribute of our group in the past.
There is always a market for originality and fresh designs. I hope that this type of behavior does not discourage the talented designers and companies in our industry from continuing to produce fashion-forward and innovative products.